7 soldiers wounded in clash with Abu Sayyaf in Sulu
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Seven members of the 21st Infantry Battalion were wounded in a clash with suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits in Patikul, Sulu, on Monday, the military said.
Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, said the soldiers were on a rescue mission for kidnapped policemen Police Officer 2 Bennie Rose Alvarez and Police Officer 1 Dinah Gumahad when they encountered the bandits in Sitio Sangay, Barangay Buhanginan, at about 6 a.m.
Alvarez and Gumahad, together with a male companion and the driver of a tricycle, were abducted on April 29 in Barangay Liang in Patikul.
The two police officers, detailed at the Western Mindanao Police Office in Zamboanga City, were in Patikul to visit friends.
Sobejana said the bandits were under the group of Idang Susukan and numbered about 70.
“Other forces nearby reinforced the engaged troops and pursue the withdrawing Abu Sayyaf. Artillery fires were delivered while attack helicopters provided close air support,” Sobejana added.
He said the military believed that a number of bandits were either wounded or killed.
“JTF Sulu forces will not stop its focused military operations until all kidnapped victims are safely rescued and the Abu’s strength is reduced to an insignificant level,” Sobejana said.
The bandits still hold 14 kidnap victims in Sulu. /cbb
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